March // Outings, Activities and Slow Living

Here are some of our favourite memories from the month of March :).

Evie enjoyed cutting stems, adding water to a jug, and arranging the pretty daffodils. This is a lovely practical life activity, and has truly brightened our kitchen. It’s been really special to watch the daffodil buds open up, showing us a glimpse of the coming springtime.

New shoes!

We took a trip to storytime at the library – where we sang songs, listened to stories, and Evie made a crocodile craft.

Evie’s rather abstract crocodile!

Evie and I then had lunch in our favourite local coffee shop, while Faith napped in her stroller. We especially enjoyed our fruit roulade which we shared :).

On our way to the park, we looked at our shadows on the ground. Faith enjoyed the swings, and Evie had fun on the big slide, swings, and roundabout. On our walk home, Evie was being silly and making Faith laugh with delight! It is so sweet to see how much the girls love eachother.

We read ‘The Sower’ in our Usborne Illustrated Children’s Bible, before planting some viola seeds. I told Evie that the seeds are planted in good soil, so they will grow. I then explained that for us to grow, we need to spend time with God and read his word.

Daffodil water play
A little ladybird

Evie and I made some yummy strawberry and chocolate chip ladybirds!

Morning snuggles with Faith
Raincloud craft
Evie giving medicine to her cat
Evie and Faith’s hand and footprint flower bouquet

I lit a candle in Evie’s pretty lantern, and read spring poetry from the lovely book ‘Out and About: A First Book of Poems’ by Shirley Hughes. I enjoyed porridge with blackberries, banana and honey, Faith had some small pieces of banana in her highchair, and Evie had granola, followed by Greek yoghurt with fruit and honey.

Reading ‘Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy’
Baking chocolate chip cookies

The girls and I took a lovely, peaceful nature walk together. Faith fell asleep to the sweet chorus of birdsong, and Evie enjoyed jumping in muddy puddles! We stamped our feet in the crunchy leaves, and explored the shoots springing up from the ground, showing the new life that springtime brings. We also admired the happy yellow daffodils, and pretty blossom on a tree.

We love discovering nature and the changing seasons together, and it is something that is very special to us as a family.

Faith exploring plastic and wooden shaker eggs

Faith has been enjoying playing with our wooden sensory blocks recently. I build tall towers, and she knocks them over! It’s so lovely watching her laugh as the blocks fall down :).

March is the perfect time to back into the garden. We have enjoyed planting seeds in egg cartons, as we hope to have lots of flowers that encourage butterflies and bees into our garden. We also planted some strawberry and lavender seeds, and will plant our seeds to grow spring onions and climbing beans in later spring.

One rainy afternoon, we had fun watching ‘Frozen’, and baking a spiced apple cake together.

Planting strawberry seeds

We took a windy walk together, and while Faith peacefully slept in the carrier, Evie collected lots of sticks in her basket. Nature hunts are a lovely way to explore, and we had a nice time.

Evie rolling “snakes” out of play dough
Evie and Faith having a cuddle

As a family; we took an outing to a nearby town, and enjoyed a nice meal out. We then went to soft play, where Evie enjoyed exploring and making friends with some big children!

We had a little wonder around a local gift shop, where we found some nice wooden dinosaurs for Evie’s birthday in a few months time.

I squirted some pastel coloured paint onto some card, and sealed it in a ziplock bag. Faith moved her hands around, and created a pretty, no-mess springtime picture :).

Baking cranberry, white chocolate and macadamia nut blondies together

Faith, Evie and I enjoyed the sunshine outside. Faith and I looked at some books together, while Evie played on the slide, and found ladybirds and spiders.

The girls also liked feeling the sensory experience of prickly grass on their bare feet.

Faith, Evie, and I had a lovely time at gardening group. We had fun sowing seeds, planting and watering bulbs for next year, and raking leaves. Faith liked discovering blossom on a tree and exploring sand, and Evie liked swinging on the tire swing, riding a small tractor, playing in the mud kitchen, watering leeks, and having a nice time with her friends.

Reading books at the library

Evie and Faith had lots of fun discovering spring themed sensory play. For Faith, I made some sensory eggs, while Evie explored a sensory tub.

Both girls also loved an Easter egg and Rice Krispies sensory activity! We made shakers by putting the cereal inside the eggs, crushed the cereal with the eggs…and they of course ate a lot haha!

Easter egg and Rice Krispies sensory play
Blowing bubbles in the garden
A simple plastic egg and tongs activity
Painting with watercolours
Splash!
Some spring crafts

We enjoyed a peaceful family nature walk in the beautiful sunshine. The birds were singing, you could hear the trickling water, and old leaves crunching beneath our feet.

There were pretty flowers peeping through, and ducks swimming along. It was truly special to observe the wonderful spring nature around us, and I’m looking forward to exploring more now that the weather isn’t so cold.

Once we had finished our walk, we had some yummy ice cream in a cafΓ©!

Evie and I decorated some bunting for spring together

We took a nice trip to the garden centre, where we bought compost, herbs, and a couple of small trees.

Once home, Evie helped to plant the herbs in the warm sunshine. We are really excited to see how our garden develops over the spring and summer months.

On Mother’s Day, we enjoyed a picnic together in the living room

So that concludes our month! I hope that you enjoyed having a little look into some of the fun things we have done.

At the same time though, the month had its little day-to-day challenges. I’m still learning how to balance my different roles at home, and stay organised. Evie can be stubborn at times. We are having to gently teach Faith to sleep away from me. I mention this because – as much as Iove my life and find it very fulfilling – I never want to pretend that it is perfect.

Still, it truly has been such a lovely month, and it has been so special to enjoy the early springtime together :).

Thank you so much for taking the time to read.

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Toddler Activities and Crafts for Spring πŸŒΌπŸ°

Springtime is one of my favourite times of the year for creating fun activities for Evie (and now baby Faith). There are so many lovely things to do, and today I am sharing some crafts and activities that Evie’s really enjoyed :).

Easter chick sensory tub

What you will need:

  • Plastic tub
  • Shredded paper
  • Plastic eggs
  • Easter chicks
  • Nest embellishments
  • Speckled egg embellishments

Evie loves sensory tubs, and had lots of fun exploring! Evie discovered the various textures and colours, lined up the chicks, and filled the plastic eggs with the chicks and speckled eggs.

Decorating bunting

What you will need:

  • Plain card bunting (our kit is from Hobbycraft, and you can also buy them from Amazon or make your own)
  • Easter themed stickers
  • Felt tip pens

Evie and I had a really lovely time decorating the pastel bunting together. We used puffy stickers, sparkly stickers, and felt tip pens.

I strung the bunting, and it looks very sweet hung up (we had to cut it and hang in a few different places, as it was so long!)

Chocolate nests

What you will need:

  • Rice Krispies
  • White chocolate
  • Micro chocolate eggs

I have lovely memories of making these as a child, and I hope that Evie will as well :). Evie helped me to break up and melt the chocolate, pour the cereal, stir together the mixture, scoop into cupcake cases, and add the eggs on top.

If you prefer, you can always use milk chocolate rather than white, or change up the cereal (such as Weetabix, Cornflakes, or Shredded Wheat).

Foam eggs garland

What you will need:

  • Foam eggs and sticky foam shapes (ours came in a set from Hobbycraft)
  • Hole puncher
  • Ribbon

Evie and I had a really lovely time decorating these Easter eggs together. It was a very simple craft, but Evie loved it and created for a long time.

Once finished, I punched holes at the top and strung them onto some ribbon. I think it looks really sweet, and Evie loves admiring it :).

Gardening

What you will need:

  • Packets of seeds
  • Herbs
  • Egg cartons
  • Planters
  • Compost
  • Watering can
  • Gardening gloves and tools

Evie has been really enjoying gardening with David and I recently. With me, she has sown some strawberry and viola seeds, and has also watered seeds regularly. With David, Evie’s had a lovely time sowing lavender and spring onion seeds, as well as seeds for various pretty flowers.

We have also planted some more herbs, and are hoping to plant some climbing bean seeds soon as well. Some seeds we have started in cardboard egg cartons, and others have been sown directly outside.

Springtime play dough

What you will need:

  • Homemade play dough (ours was coloured yellow, and scented with lemon essential oil)
  • Cookie cutters
  • Small wooden rolling pin
  • Small toddler knife (not pictured)
  • Easter chicks
  • Speckled egg embellishments
  • Nest embellishments

Evie enjoyed exploring the different textures, and practicing her colours and counting. She made nests for the chicks, rolled and cut the dough, and asked me to make different animals.

Play dough is such a lovely sensory activity, and it’s lots of fun to create new themes as the seasons change.

Flower soup

What you will need:

  • Flower petals
  • A large bowl of water
  • Wooden spoon
  • Scoop
  • Whisk
  • Small bowl

Evie had fun whisking and pouring the rose petals, as she pretended to make a flower soup. Once she had finished, we poured the flowery water onto our compost heap outside.

We have had a really great time discovering these activities together, and also have some special crafts to keep.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you enjoyed it.

Baby Activities and Crafts for Spring πŸŒΈπŸ£

Springtime is one of my favourite times to provide lots of fun activities for Evie and Faith. There are so many lovely things to do, and today I am sharing some that baby Faith has really enjoyed!

Please note: it’s really important to closely watch your baby when exploring these activities, as they could pose a risk if left unattended.

Sensory eggs

What you will need:

  • Clear, fillable Easter eggs
  • Shredded paper
  • Pastel coloured pom poms
  • Easter chicks
  • Carrot embellishments
  • Speckled egg embellishments
  • Ribbon

I originally found this sensory play idea on The Imagination Tree, and thought that it was lovely.

I filled up the clear eggs with the various craft supplies, and tied some pink ribbon at the top. I bought the supplies from Amazon and Hobbycraft, and I imagine that Poundland would stock most of these as well.

Faith enjoyed exploring the sensory eggs, and I described the different colours and textures. I was of course careful to watch Faith very closely as she played with these eggs – as if opened, the items could pose a choking risk.

Springtime water play

What you will need:

  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Fake flowers
  • Plastic spoons and scoop
  • Water
  • Plastic tub

As it was such a lovely, sunny day; I thought that it would be really fun to explore some water play in the garden.

Faith enjoyed splashing her hands in the water, and feeling the objects. I told her the different colours, as well as poured the water. We had a very nice time discovering together :).

Easter egg music

What you will need:

  • Wooden shaker eggs
  • Plastic eggs
  • Plastic spoons
  • A large bowl

Faith really enjoyed shaking the eggs, hitting the spoons onto the bowl, and stiring everything around. This all made lots of noise, which Faith found very funny!

Chick and carrot footprints

What you will need:

  • Orange and yellow paint
  • Paint brushes
  • White paper or card
  • Green shredded tissue paper
  • Glue stick
  • Orange and black felt tip pens
  • Yellow feather

As I brushed the paint onto Faith’s foot, she screamed and laughed with delight! I then pressed her foot onto some paper.

To make the chick; I drew on a beak, feet, and eye, before sticking on a yellow feather. To make the carrot; I added some glue to the back, and stuck on some green shredded tissue paper.

I think that they look really sweet, and it will be lovely in the future to look back on how tiny Faith’s little foot was :).

Books and songs

We love looking at books, and singing songs and rhymes together at home. Books about farmyard animals or gardens are perfect for springtime, and pictured below are just a selection of some that we’ve enjoyed reading.

Some spring themed nursery rhymes that we’ve been singing include, “Mary had a Little Lamb”, “Five Little Ducks”, and “Baa Baa Black Sheep”.

Easter egg sensory tray

What you will need:

  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Rice Krispies
  • Roasting tin or tray

Both Evie and Faith really enjoyed this sensory play activity. Evie and I made shakers using the eggs and cereal, as well as crushed the cereal with the eggs. Faith liked feeling the different textures, and having a taste, too!

Now that Faith is getting older, it’s been very special to be able to provide more activities for her. We’ve had lots of fun, and Evie has liked joining in with much of our play as well.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read.

Messy Sensory Play Activities for Toddlers

I believe that sensory play is really important for little ones to discover. This type of play helps to support fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, language and communication, cognitive development, STEM, understanding of the world, problem solving skills, creativity, and more.

Of course you don’t necessarily need to provide set-up sensory activities like I am sharing today, as day-to-day life can naturally include plenty of sensory experiences. For example: exploring on a nature walk, baking a loaf of homemade bread, and pouring water in a bubbly bath – just to name a few!

However, in our home we love exploring sensory play activities together as well, and these are just a selection that we have done together recently.

Birthday cake cloud dough

What you will need:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • A little over 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Silicone cupcake cases
  • Scoop or spoon
  • Candles
  • Sprinkles (we used ‘unicorn confetti’)

To make the cloud dough; mix together the plain flour and olive oil. The consistency is very soft, and will hold together when pressed.

This began as a simple sensory play more geared towards baby Faith, but as Evie enjoyed it so much, after a while I decided to add sprinkles and candles!

Evie had fun discovering the texture of the cloud dough, telling me the different colours she could see, and scooping it into the cupcake cases. We put candles in the top, and sang the ‘Happy Birthday’ song to eachother :).

Evie also enjoyed feeling the soft dough on her feet, and having a little taste too!

While exploring the cloud dough, Evie was developing her hand-eye co-ordination, language skills, and using her senses. She was also furthering her understanding of birthdays, as this has been a big interest of hers after she attended her friend’s birthday party.

Foamy bubbles

What you will need:

  • Lots of washing-up liquid
  • A little water
  • A large plastic tub
  • A whisk (we used our electric one)
  • Containers, whisk, spoons etc.

We squirted washing-up liquid into the tub, and poured in a little water. We then used an electric whisk to whisk up the mixture until it was really foamy (for safety reasons, we did this together).

Evie absolutely loved this sensory play activity! She whisked the foam (using a regular whisk), as well as scooped it into the containers. She also felt the foamy bubbles with her hands, and told me that they were “cold”, and “soft like clouds”.

Wet on wet watercolours

What you will need:

  • Tubes of watercolour paints (ours are from Hobbycraft)
  • Paint pallet
  • A tub of water
  • A variety of brushes
  • Watercolour paper

To prepare the paints, I mixed each colour with a little water. Evie then used a large paint brush to saturate the watercolour paper with water, before using different brushes and paint colours to explore. Evie seemed fascinated, as she observed how the fluid colours moved around the paper, and created new colours.

To add another sensory element; I played some classical music in the background, as I was curious to see if it affected Evie’s painting. It may have been a coincidence – but when a fast piece of music played, she moved her brush quickly around the page.

Evie really enjoyed this process art activity, and ended up creating five paintings (including a deep blue one, which she titled “The Night Sky”).

Jelly

What you will need:

  • Jelly (we used strawberry)
  • Cookie cutters
  • Containers and spoons

Generally speaking, when making food based sensory play activities I prefer to use things that we can keep for many uses (like play dough or coloured rice), as it seems more resourceful. However, we hadn’t explored jelly since Evie was a baby – so I thought that it would be fun for both girls to discover!

I made up some strawberry jelly with plastic cookie cutters inside, and left it to set in the fridge overnight.

Evie was a little unsure about feeling the jelly, but had a try and discovered that it was cold and wobbly. Still, she preferred using a spoon to explore – stirring, scooping and transferring the jelly, identifying the ocean creature cutters, and having a little taste (she didn’t like it haha!)

Baby Faith also had fun exploring – squishing the jelly between her fingers, and having a small taste too :).

The girls played with the jelly for a long time, and used their different senses to discover.

Foil painting

What you will need:

  • Kitchen foil
  • Thick card
  • Paint

I wrapped some kitchen foil around the card, and added splodges of red and yellow paint.

Evie had fun mixing the colours, and discovering that they made orange! She also asked for a paper plate and cotton buds, and enjoyed painting onto the plate. This wasn’t a part of my original idea, but it’s always interesting to see the direction that Evie takes her play :).

Evie was learning some colour theory during this sensory activity, as well as practicing fine motor skills.

These sensory play activities may have been quite messy, but we have had a lovely time exploring together :). Thank you so much for reading.

3 Discovery Baskets for Babies

Now that Faith is a little pro at sitting up, I was excited to make some themed discovery baskets for her to explore :).

Discovery baskets like this are great for heuristic play, as well as helping to encourage: hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive development, curiosity, practical life skills, creativity, understanding of the world, problem solving, and more!

Please note: it is very important to closely watch your baby when exploring these discovery baskets.

Natural items

Ideas of what to include:

  • Wooden spoon
  • Pastry brush
  • Wooden massage roller
  • Loofah
  • Pinecone
  • Honey dipper
  • Wooden nail brush
  • Wooden hoop
  • Wooden peg doll

Faith enjoyed exploring the different items, and discovering that some were hard, soft, spiky, and smooth. She liked me gently brushing the pastry brush over her hand, and putting the items into her mouth.

Textiles

Ideas of what to include:

  • Ribbon
  • Lace
  • Piece of foil blanket
  • Sponge
  • Felt
  • Microfiber duster
  • Minky fabric

Faith enjoyed feeling the different materials, and of course putting them into her mouth! I used describing words such as “rustly”, “soft”, “bumpy”, and “squashy”, and we also played peek-a-boo together.

Instruments

Ideas of what to include:

  • Bells
  • Mini sensory bottles
  • Mini shakers
  • Small maraca (not pictured)
  • Rhythm sticks

Faith seems to really love instruments, and this discovery basket was much enjoyed! Faith liked exploring the different sounds each item made, and putting them into her mouth.

Faith also got very excited when Evie joined in, and David started playing a beat which we all danced to – haha :).

Faith had a lovely time exploring each of these discovery baskets, and I’m looking forward to creating some more for her in the future.

What have you used to make interesting discovery baskets? I’d love to know!

Thank you so much for reading :).

Montessori-Inspired Honeybee Activities for Toddlers πŸ―🐝

As spring is on its way, I thought that it would be a lovely time for Evie to explore some honeybee themed activities.

They are all inspired by Montessori, and Evie had lots of fun discovering and learning. I hope that you enjoy reading :).

Making honey cookies

Evie loves helping in the kitchen, and its a great practical life activity as well! For this activity; we made some simple, homemade honey cookies together.

These lovely cookies are soft and chewy, and have a subtle, yet sweet taste of honey. Here is my recipe (makes 10-12):

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter, room temperature
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 160g self-raising flour
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 4-5 tbsp honey

Method:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 160c (fan oven), and line two trays with baking paper or silicone mats
  • Cream together the butter and sugar, before stiring in the egg to combine
  • Stir through the flour and cinnamon
  • Finally, add in the honey and stir
  • Spoon onto your trays (the mixture will be quite sticky), leaving room for the cookies to expand
  • Cook for 12-14 minutes, or until slightly brown around the edges
  • Remove from the oven, and after 5 minutes transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
  • Enjoy!

Evie also helped me to clean-up – as we washed up and wiped down the counters together :). This teaches responsibility, independence, and taking care of our environment.

We had a great time making honey cookies together, and enjoyed eating them too!

Pollen transfer

What you will need:

  • A wooden tray (I thought mine looked a little like a flower)
  • Egg carton
  • Yellow pom-poms
  • Jumbo tweezers
  • Scoop

I showed Evie a short YouTube video of bees collecting pollen from flowers, and flying back to the hive.

Evie enjoyed using the tweezers and scoop to pick up the yellow pom poms (pollen), and transfer them into the egg carton (hive).

This activity works on fine motor skills, hand strength, and one to one correspondence.

Flower garden sensory play

What you will need:

  • Shredded green tissue paper
  • Fabric flowers
  • Small bee embellishments
  • A baking dish or container

It was lovely to just sit back, and observe Evie explore this sensory play activity. At first, Evie discovered the various textures, before categorising the flowers and bees and counting them.

Finally, Evie found her shoes and put them on herself (which is a great practical life skill), and stamped her feet to press the ‘grass’ down flat.

It’s wonderful to watch how Evie takes her play with no direction, and how she is progressing over time. In this activity, Evie practiced areas including: fine motor skills, practical life, maths, and creativity.

Counting honeycomb

What you will need:

  • Yellow card hexagons
  • Wooden numbers

I cut out yellow card hexagons to represent honeycomb. The objective of this activity, was to choose a number and put together the corresponding amount of honeycomb. As Evie is still learning number recognition; I intended to provide some support in doing this, while making sure to not overly direct her play.

To be honest, so far Evie hasn’t taken much interest in this shelf work. I have set-up similar activities recently and found the same results, as I think that this concept is above her abilities right now. With reflection, I will leave this type of activity for when Evie is a bit older. Still, I wanted to include it anyway, in case it’s something that may work for your child :).

This shelf work works on areas including: number recognition, problem solving, counting, and learning shapes.

Honey play dough

What you will need:

  • Homemade honey play dough
  • Honey dipper
  • Small bee embellishments
  • Fake flowers
  • Wooden tools
  • Wooden bread
  • …or whatever you think your little one would enjoy!

To make the honey play dough – I made my usual homemade play dough recipe, with a little yellow food colouring and a couple of tablespoons of honey.

Evie enjoyed exploring the soft, squishy play dough, and making prints using the honey dipper and wooden tools. She also liked pressing the bees and flowers into the dough, and pretending to make honey on toast.

Play dough is a fantastic activity for developing hand strength, fine motor skills, and creativity :).

Evie seemed to have a great time exploring these activities, and she learnt lots as well. Thank you so much for reading!

3 Simple and Fun Toddler Investigations

Toddlers are so curious by nature, and like to carry out their own little investigations.

Recently Evie has been really interested in shadows, and likes discovering where she can see them and where she won’t. Evie is also very interested in rainbows, and I have seen her move a glass around to create a little rainbow on the table.

As parents I think that we can so often miss our toddlers’ investigations (I know that I can), but they are truly so important in their discovery and understanding of the world around them.

Although I believe that the best learning happens organically in everyday life, I also love providing fun and hands-on activities for Evie to explore. I hope that you enjoy reading :).

Sink or float?

What you will need:

  • A bowl of water
  • A variety of items (some that will sink, and others that will float)

I was actually a little surprised at just how much Evie enjoyed this activity! She would choose an item, and had to predict if it would sink to the bottom, or float on top of the water.

Evie repeated this activity many times – remembering what happens to each item in the water. This simple investigation helps to teach science and prediction.

Pom pom race

What you will need:

  • Pom poms
  • Straws

This activity couldn’t be simpler, and it was one that Evie and I had lots of fun with! You may not initially think of this little game as being an investigation, but for toddlers there is a lot of learning happening.

As we blew through our straws to race the pom poms – Evie was learning how to best angle the straw to move along the pom pom, and how blowing causes them to move along. We initially just kept things very simple, but this game can be easily extended. Ideas include: making a maze using tape, discovering which sized pom pom moves fastest, and which surface is best (for e.g tiles or a rug).

Magnetic or not?

What you will need:

  • A magnet
  • A tub of magnetic and non-magnetic items

Evie really concentrated, as she discovered which items were magnetic and which were not. To keep things fairly simple; I made sure that all of the metal items were magnetic, but in the future when Evie is older, learning that metal items may not be is a good lesson too :). This activity teaches science, and helps to encourage curiosity.

We both had a lovely time exploring these little investigations together, and I hope that you enjoyed reading what we’ve been up to :).